Worth It: Joanna Czech's The Balm

Meet the new summer staple for sensitive skin.

joanna czech the balm
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome back to Worth It, a bi-weekly breakdown of the new beauty products we’ve tested and adored: We're talking that drain-it-to-the-bottom-and-tell-my-friends-I’ve-found-The-One kind of love. If it's featured here, consider this our permission to splurge on it. Read on for the product you don’t want to live without. 

The Promise 

If you haven’t heard of Joanna Czech (opens in new tab), I promise you’re familiar with her work. She's the woman behind the glowing complexions of Kim Kardashian, Kate Winslet, Lily Aldridge, Hailey Bieber, Christy Turlington—I could go on. Czech, who is known for blending high-tech treatments like LED therapy and microcurrent devices with old school facial massages, has been working her magic for nearly 35 years. But she sent the beauty world for a loop last year when she introduced her namesake brand with “The Kit (opens in new tab),” a set of seven essential products. There was a catch though: it came via an all-in-one offering with a $1,320 price tag. 

But surprise, surprise, a few weeks ago, the brand announced that every product from The Kit would be available for individual purchase. The most enticing? The Balm, an uber-rich hydrator with the allure of long-lasting hydration, decreased reactivity (think: rashes, irritation, stinging), softened skin, and increased luminosity. Alas, every product sounds great when you read the product description. So, I put this one to the test. 

Why I’m Obsessed 

If I’m being candid, my skin in the summer is a grade A disaster. My rosacea goes into overdrive (my dermatologist gives me prescriptions to help), I break out into a bumpy, itchy heat rash the second I step foot on a beach, and, like clockwork, I develop red, dry irritation on my neck that persists from June to August. Quite fun, really. I try to keep my skincare testing to a minimum to not make matters worse, but with promises to reduce reactivity and soften skin, I decided to risk it all with The Balm. 

I’m a big fan of slugging, aka the process of applying a thin layer of an emollient over the skin before bed, so I decided to replace my tried and true Vaseline with this product. I used the handy dandy spatula to get about a dime-sized amount of the balm out of the jar (it’s narrow, FYI) and proceeded to warm it up between my fingers. As I sheered it onto my skin, I noticed that there was absolutely no oily residue left behind. It’s without a question denser than a normal moisturizer, but unlike other balms that sit on top of the skin, this one absorbed quickly and didn’t leave a sticky film. 

Fast forward to the morning, and my complexion was the living definition of the word supple. I’m talking about that I-drink-a-gallon-of-water-a-day, my-skin-will-bounce-if-you-touch-it kind of look. And it’s all thanks to the star ingredients. The Balm includes hyaluronic acid (a classic) as well as hydrating ceramides and a slew of minerals such as sea algae, which is proven to help restore the skin to a healthy state. 

Hydration was a selling point for sure, but the soothing powers are what really convinced me this product is worth the splurge. After a few nights of use, I noticed the redness I normally have on my cheeks was visibly calmed and the sandpaper-like tightness I had around my mouth was legitimately non-existent. To put it simply: my skin was just more content. Granted, no product is going to make every skin issue poof and disappear, but The Balm made my skin—dare I say it—balanced. 

In sum: I’m The Balm’s number one fan. I've been using this every single night on my face, whip it out for dry patches on my neck, massage it onto irritated elbows…it’s a staple in my summer routine. And trust me, you’re going to want to scoop this up while you can. 

(Editor’s note: While slugging can deliver amazing results, it’s normally not well-suited for oily or acne-prone skin types. Make sure to consult with your dermatologist.) 

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.